Although all deck officers are navigators it is usually the practice to appoint one of the officers as “the navigator” who is responsible for planning and overseeing the navigation function aboard a seagoing vessel. Broadly, his duties/responsibilities are the following:
- The preparation and planning of the safest and most economical passage between the ports of departure and destination.
- The monitoring of the ship’s progress along the planned route and, if necessary, to make whatever adjustments that may be required to ensure the safety of the vessel.
- Ensuring that the ship has all the necessary charts, publications, navigation warnings, chart corrections, navigation stationery and implements to navigate the ship over the route selected.
- Ensuring that these charts and publications are up to date and kept up to date by implementing the necessary corrections as and when received.
- Ensuring that the ship is equipped with the necessary navigation equipment and aids to navigation and that they are maintained in an operational state.
- He is responsible for keeping the navigation data book up to date and ensure that the ship’s logbook is timeously and correctly filled in.
- He is responsible for sending navigation warnings when the need arises.
- He is responsible for ensuring that weather reports/forecasts are continually obtained and for the correct interpretation thereof.
- He is responsible for ensuring that the weather instruments situated onboard are functional and that they are read regularly and recorded in the ship’s logbook.